After the not-bad manga exclusive to the collector’s edition release of the game, we’re now getting the official manga spinoff to “Final Fantasy Type-0.” While people who have played the game will know that the title of “Ice Reaper” refers to Kurasame, the instructor to Class Zero, those who don’t probably won’t find enough connection to invest themselves in the story being told here. For those who do, this “Side Story” offers up a decent bit of comfort food that fleshes out the backstory of one of “Type-0’s” more interesting supporting characters. We get to see Kurasame as a student, a very serious one at that, at Akademia striving to become worthy of being an Agito and experiencing a good amount of tragedy and heartbreak in the process. From humble beginnings is born one who will become one of the Four Champions of Rubrum.
Of course, the story tells us that so there’s not a whole lot of drama there. The narrative of this volume is fairly predictable, so don’t expect any real surprises here either. What this volume does have going for it is (in comparison to the game) a drastically reduced cast of characters. This allows mangaka Takatoshi Shiozawa to develop the core group a bit more even if he doesn’t get as many moments as he did in the original manga to showcase the game’s flashier mechanics. He does get to use the game’s one great plot device -- how the crystals remove the memories of those who have died from the living -- here to good effect. It’s not the kind of great effect that would get me to recommend this title to those who haven’t played the game, but those who have will get a decent amount of enjoyment out of what’s here.
(Now let’s hope this series doesn’t degenerate into near-incoherent nonsense like “Type-0” did at its end. Good god, no game in the “Final Fantasy XIII” series even managed that particular feat.)